Monday, February 13, 2012

Cinnamon Chicken + Some More Stuff

The past week was filled up with three things: the cold, the birthday and the absence.
You know it's been cold so I won't go into it. I will though tell you how one of two things is happening.
Either all my non-stop eating has cushioned me with interior quilting or it is warming up. I certainly hope it's the second option and that the padding is all in my mind.

The birthday party was Friday night and was a whopping, screaming, giggling success. I'll tell you all about it in a post to come. Suffice it to say, French girls scream and giggle just as loud as American girls.

And third, P-Daddy was gone and we were all a bit more than lonely for him. He spent the week in Las Vegas, that bizarre reality vacuum of forced oxygen and big buffets so I couldn't be too jealous. 

But I always have an untethered feeling when I'm over here on another continent with our three children and a dog while everyone else in my family is in North America.

It's warming up (hope), she's officially ten years old, and P-Daddy is back in Europe.
Happy days.

Here's one of our favorite weeknight chicken recipes. I wanted to share it with you because it was the requested birthday dish this year, it will warm you up and it's cinnamony and red for all you lovers out there.

Sorry there aren't any photos from our cinnamon chicken night but if you make it you can share yours with me here.
I'd love to see them. cat cora's cinnamon chicken

Cinnamon Chicken
adapted by me from Cat Cora's recipe

6 or so chicken thighs; skin on, bone-in
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh black pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 tblsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 cups water or half water/half white wine
6 oz can tomato paste

Dry the chicken thighs thoroughly with paper towels.
Mix the cinnamon, salt and pepper together to make a rub for the dried off chicken.
Pat the spices into both sides of the thighs.

Heat a skillet with olive oil until very hot.
Place the chicken skin side down into the hot oil. I cover mine with a skillet screen I bought at IKEA because I can't stand all that splattering.

Leave the chicken there for up to five minutes without touching it at all. 
After five minutes turn your chicken and leave to sit another five minutes. It will be spitting and splattering and going nuts. That's good.

While this is all happening peel and chop your onion and garlic.

After the chicken has cooked for about 10 minutes remove it from the pan to a warm plate. There will be tons of chicken fat in the bottom of the skillet. Swipe a handful of paper towels around the skillet to remove the majority of it. But be very careful as it is incredibly hot. No children nearby for this part.

Put the onion and garlic into the skillet and scrape with a wooden spoon to release all the good bits.
Stir all the goodness together and let soften for three or so minutes over a medium heat.

Remove the cooked onion and garlic to a small saucepan.

Put the chicken back into the skillet and return to a medium heat.
I saw Jamie Oliver cook chicken thighs the way I'm going to describe here on one of his 30 Minute Meals shows and had to try it.

*Heat a skillet one size smaller than the one your chicken is in.
*Cover your browned chicken with wax paper and then put the smaller, warmed skillet right on top.
*Put a heavy saucepan inside the smaller skillet to weigh it down.
This will press the chicken down and continue to brown and cook it while you make the sauce.

To reiterate: big, chicken filled skillet on bottom, wax paper layer, smaller hot but empty skillet on top and then something heavy to weigh it down. Got that? Sounds weird but I promise it works.

In the saucepan with the cooked onion and garlic, add the tomato paste and water or water/wine combo and let simmer away until thickened a bit. The longer you can leave this sauce the richer and tastier it will be. I like it to get a bit on the thick side--up to 12 minutes.

When you're happy with your sauce, dismantle the chicken skillet business and  pour it over the chicken in the skillet and leave it to come together for about five minutes or so.

I like to plate one or two chicken thighs with a mound of fluffy white rice dolloped with the sauce and a side of green beans. 
Warm, delicious plates of love for your family.
If I don't talk to you tomorrow I wish you Happy Valentine's Day.

cinnamon love hearts google image


  1. Bonjour Aidan. I am glad P-Daddy is back safe and sound. I can't wait to hear about the girl's birthday party ;-) Love the new look on your blog, by the way. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  2. Mmm, if I was a better mother I'd make this. It sounds divine. Glad P Dad is back, mine has just left again this morning (V Day alooone, sniff), so have a cuddle for me, will you? x

  3. Bonjour Veronique,
    Merci. Et happy St Valentine's day to you. I'll get the birthday party post up and running soon.

    It's so easy. Make it and you'll see. And it will be gone in a flash. I'm sad that you're on your own again. I know how miserable it can be. Cuddle I will.

    bisous. bit fat ones,


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